July 1, 2020 / 7:31 AM / 15 days ago

Thai business groups see economy shrinking 5%-8% this year

BANGKOK, July 1 (Reuters) - Thailand’s economy is expected to contract between 5%-8% this year, deeper than the 3%-5% contraction projected in May, due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, a group of the country’s leading business associations said on Wednesday.

Despite the easing of virus restrictions, most economic indicators declined in May and June, weighed by the weak purchasing power of households and businesses, while tourism remains under pressure, according to a joint standing committee on commerce, industry and banking.

“The economy is not good yet and job losses will increase,” Kalin Sarasin, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, told a briefing. “Although businesses started to reopen, there is no income yet”.

The business group now predicts exports will drop by 7%-10% this year, rather than a 5%-10% declined forecast earlier.

The group said it was worried about a recent rise in the baht, which is likely to appreciate further.

The group said it was still pushing the government to take part in Asia-Pacific trade agreement talks to boost the economy, amid widespread opposition.

The group plans to hold a seminar on the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on Thursday. (Reporting by Kitiphong Thaichareon Writing by Orathai Sriring Editing by Ed Davies)

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